In a notable advancement for the aluminium industry, the state-of-the-art Bath Pilot Batch Reactor has been successfully installed at the ALCORE Technology Centre. This development is a significant step for ABx Group and its 83%-owned subsidiary, ALCORE.
The reactor, which is now fully installed, is set to commence commissioning this week. One of its main features is the use of cutting-edge technology designed specifically to enhance process mixing, which is important to increasing fluorine yield.
ALCORE has been at the forefront, pioneering a pilot plant facility with an objective to recover fluorine from ‘excess bath,’ a by-product of aluminium smelting. This is transformed into hydrogen fluoride. The subsequent commercial phase involves the conversion of hydrogen fluoride to produce aluminium fluoride, a high-value chemical necessary for aluminium smelting.
The ALCORE team’s research has extensively studied the feasibility of extracting a high fluorine yield from aluminium smelter waste. The catch, however, is rooted in the achievement of effective process mixing, an aspect that posed challenges with ALCORE’s preceding laboratory reactor. To counter this, the newly unveiled Bath Pilot Batch Reactor incorporates state-of-the-art technology, which greatly improves process mixing.
Designed by ALCORE’s engineering team, the reactor was ordered in late March from a specialized international supplier. Boasting a process capacity that’s a whopping ten times larger than its laboratory counterpart, it stands poised to redefine efficiency. Should the pilot batch reactor realize its targeted high yield of fluorine, it is anticipated to bolster confidence in the continuous pilot plant’s performance, as well as the commercial plant. Additionally, they believe it will also lead to extensive research on the processing and market assessment of the metal sulfate co-products.
With the reactor fully operational and commissioning in full swing, ABX Group’s Managing Director and CEO, Dr. Mark Cooksey noted the importance of the development in a related press release.
“The commissioning of this state-of-the-art reactor will be a major milestone in the development of the ALCORE process, as it will demonstrate that sufficient fluorine yield can be achieved using commercial reactor designs and process conditions. This significantly increases confidence in the overall process scale-up and commercialisation.”